Jamie Kutchman Wynne, Founder of Marigold & Grey
Meet Jamie Kutchman Wynne, founder of Marigold & Grey an artisan welcome gift company based in Washington, DC. The idea to create Marigold & Grey came about while in the process of planning her own wedding. Jamie saw an area where there was not many options and created a clever business in the process.
Full Name: Jamie Kutchman Wynne
Location: Chevy Chase, MD (Washington DC area)
Year Founded: 2014
Company Name: Marigold & Grey
Education: James Madison University
Favorite quote: Leap and the net will appear. (This quote doesn’t necessarily mean you can be reckless and things will take care of themselves. It’s more a statement about faith in yourself and faith that things will work out the way they’re supposed to in the end.)
Can you give a brief introduction to Marigold & Grey? Sure! Marigold & Grey is an online platform allowing brides, grooms and event planners to design their own welcome gifts. They begin by choosing their packaging (box, bag, basket) and then select the items they’d like inside (edibles, beverages, keepsakes, toiletries). We’re basically transforming the tedious welcome gift process and turning it into a beautiful, modern, enjoyable shopping experience.
What decision led you to start your own business? I recognized the need for boutique wedding welcome gift service while planning my own 2012 wedding. At the same time, I was growing increasingly more and and more unhappy in my corporate career in medical/surgical sales. I was very successful financially but inside, I felt uninspired and terribly stagnant. Having a vision of something great and being unhappy in my current spot…the perfect recipe for a startup company! I quit my job (rather spontaneously on a conference call!) and jumped head-first into building Marigold & Grey. Haven’t looked back since.
Would you be willing to share how you started your company (IE: funding, branding, advertising)? I funded my company with my own savings from my previous career. For branding, I wanted a company that specialized in developing creative brands. I chose Flosites because they not only have the technical know-how, but they also deal extensively with companies in the wedding industry. For advertising, I’m very active on Instagram and I blog at least 2-3 times a week. I also advertise on Style Me Pretty and other sites where I believe my target customers to be frequenting on a daily basis.
What surprised you about this process? Everything takes twice the amount of time you think it will and costs at least twice the amount of money!
Was there anything that was more difficult or easier than you expected? Yes! In terms of difficulty… I underestimated how much goes into building an e-commerce site. In terms of things being easier…I’ve found it much easier to network and collaborate with others in the industry than I thought. I thought business owners would be very closed to working with new businesses but, in my case, most everyone has been receptive to working together. It’s actually fun!
In your opinion, what would you say are the three main ingredients to a successful business? Exceptional people. A need in the market for the product. An ability to communicate the “why” of the company to the market so they will buy.
Where does your creative inspirations come from and how do you keep your creative juices flowing because Marigold & Grey is a clever concept? Initially, my inspiration for the company came from my own stress I encountered during my own wedding. There were some mistakes in the planning and many details slipped through the cracks, some very important ones. My focus after that experience became to develop a process that would take stress away from brides and grooms so they could really enjoy the time leading up to their wedding and, of course, their wedding day. And now that the company is up and running, I’m inspired by artisan, handcrafted, very unique types of products. Things that people are excited to give and even more excited to receive.
Self doubt often times stop people from trying new ventures. Did you have any doubts along the way? If so, how did you overcome them or what words of encouragement can you offer others? Oh yes, and I still have doubts! I simply force myself to remember back to how empty I felt in my previous career and it immediately makes me feel thankful that I’ve come as far as I have and have changed my life so much in a rather short period of time. I sometimes even jot down accomplishments and milestones, even if small, and this gets me in a more positive frame of mind to press forward to the next task. My advice is to reach out!!! Reach out to other other small business owners in your same boat but also to those a few years ahead of you. If you ask for help, there will always be someone there who wants to help you along. If you don’t find that person right away, keep looking!
Do you have any projects you’re working on and is there any companies you’d like to collaborate with? Working on several styled photoshoots as well as custom gift design for some creative workshops and wedding planners. Also working on developing a new line of pre-designed gifts. Very excited as we get closer to our very first official wedding season with the website up and running! Can’t wait!
What productivity tools do you use to get work done (This can be an app, software, book, etc)?
To be honest, the best thing I ever did for my business was get a $20 pack of wipeable calendar sheets from Container Store and stick them to my wall. I do keep track of meetings and projects electronically, but there’s no substitute for seeing everything I have going on within a 90-day span right in front of me, up on the wall, each day. I’m sure interior designers would say it’s not pretty home office design but, hey, it works! I’m also very list-oriented. I get a little scattered in the head when I don’t work from lists. Especially if I’m feeling overwhelmed, it always helps to dump EVERYTHING into a list so I can visually see what I’m facing. It doesn’t make the workload any less, but keeps me calmer.
What can we look for from your company in the coming years? Definitely hand delivery service in additional U.S cities. Also, an ever-changing collection of products. I don’t see the collection staying exactly the same. I want to keep it new and fresh!
Is there anything else you’d like to add? I’m currently looking to add an intern to my team as we head into the busy wedding season. For details, see marigoldgrey.com/intern.
Be sure to check out Marigold & Grey and follow their social media channels.